Beauty is on the inside and other cliches part two

In my post Beauty is on the inside and other cliches I talked about the difference between being obsessed with perfection and enjoying enhancing your appearance with make-up and hair products. Recently I began reading The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer for research. While I don’t agree with everything Greer says and some parts are now not relevant (the book was published in 1970), I really liked the chapter about beauty. It’s normal to have reservations about your appearance, but as Greer argues, we should be mainly not only be okay with our natural appearance/body, but should love it. You don’t have to be arrogant, but find a way to convince yourself that we are each different, and come to appreciate yourself and the natural appearance of others.

If we could stop striving to become the ‘perfect’ woman (or man), then there would be less ‘frankensteins’ as I like to call them (and yes I know Frankenstein was the creator, not the monster). Frankensteins are created when a person sees a part of someone elses body that they like and try to change their own to be the same, most of the time this either ends up greatly exaggerated, or just doesn’t fit with their natural appearance, and the result is ugliness. For example, I have pasty white freckled skin and auburn hair, if I started hitting the sunbeds or used spray tan I would look ridiculous. There are tons of orange women parading our streets, it ain’t a good look ladies, you’d be far better off accepting your pasty skin and just using blusher.

I don’t say these things lightly, I have experience. I was a size 8 before I got sick and now…I’m a few dress sizes bigger. It’s frustrating and yes most people will look at me and think “don’t order the cake” but it’s not the end of the world, worse things happen. As long as I’m eating healthily then I won’t waste my time worrying about the odd treat or the size of my waistline, I’ve come to accept my bigger self, and hopefully soon come to love it.

My freckly knees

When I was teenager I hated my freckly knees and did all I could to cover them up, until freckles came in to fashion one summer, and my friend said they were a cute oddity. Not everyone loves them but I do, my friend helped me see my spotted knees in a different way, and now I like that I’m the only person I know who has freckles on every joint, as if they all congregated at the bends.

Perhaps there’s a part of yourself that you could see in a new light?

“For women, there is one aspect which is common to both situations: demands are made upon them to contour their bodies in order to please the eyes of the others. Women are so insecure that they constantly take measures to capitulate to this demand, whether it is rational or not” – The Female Eunuch

“I’m not a token woman”

Nick Clegg, speaking at the Lib Dem conference this week, told the party that there needed to be more ethnic minority, disabled and female members. He said, “We have some exceptional women in Parliament…but we don’t have enough.” Previously, the party has been against positive discrimination but Clegg now proposes a list of Lib Dem ┬áministers with 50% of places for female, 20% of places for ethnic minorities and 10% of places for the disabled. This came after the Hansard Society condemned the lack of women in the Coalition, revealing that only 32 out of 184 cabinet committee seats. When this issue was discussed at the Lib Dem 2002 conference, female MPs wore t-shirts with the slogan, “I am not a token woman”, to make a strong point. The idea came from Jo Swinson, who still opposes all-women short lists. Who is right? Does Clegg really want to have better representation in his party and do his part to remove glass ceilings, or is this simply a way for his party to gain popularity again?

Until recently, I had a firm opinion on this topic, all-women short lists are not the way to improve equality, but no I ask myself, how much has society really advanced since equal opportunities and anti-discrimination found its way into law? Little, if Parliament is anything to go by. True that females have become MPs, we have even had a female PM and, from the politicians I have spoken to, treatment of female MPs in the House has improved, but that is not to say that there is no more ground to make.True equality is impossible, but isn’t it about time for institutions, like Parliamentary committees, to be forced into giving equal opportunities?

“We have got fewer women around the Cabinet table than we have had in years- we are going backwards in numbers.” – Ruth Fox, the director of the Hansard’s Society’s Parliament and Government Programme

Opponents will say that discrimination of any kind is immoral, no one should get a job because of their sex, the colour of their skin or because of their disability. And perhaps they are right, all-women short lists may not be the way to solve the issue, Swinson has a point, work needs to be done in order to ensure there are actually women to go onto the short-list. It seems to me though, unless an alternative is found, all-women short lists is a step in the right direction. Perhaps it will encourage women into politics and at least that means that if/when women actually get to that stage then they won’t have a stumbling block.One thing is for certain though, non-intervention has not worked and, at least in politics, the glass ceiling remains.

What do you think?